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March 27, 2008

Comments

By party leadership, it sounds like we should read that as "influential super-donors who buy into Hillary's feelings of entitlement." TPM has a letter from them that is little more than a threat to cut off funding to Dems who don't back their candidate. What's more important, access to power for a few or the fate of the nation whose strength confers that power on its leaders?

If the Dems manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory this time, who knows what we're in for, with a McCain/Lieberman junta?

Somebody had to say it... but I still find it incredible that she is in the position she is in, brought low and mean (in the the old-timer sense) by failure to properly manage a campaign that was hers to lose a year ago.

By the time I caught Obama speak last summer on the 4th of July, in Des Moines under a tree, he was polling around 17% if I'm remembering correctly. Had anyone wrote a post predicting that Clinton would be where she is today, it would have been laughed away as the most wishful sort of magical thinking a naive Obama supporter could make.

Clinton as Nader is an appropriate analogy at this point, and for some reason I am optimistic this might shake out a bit before PA. From my point of view, a 10 percent margin or less would be terrific news for Obama in PA, but if I were to employ the same sort of wishful thinking as mentioned above, I guess it won't hurt to hope for Obama to close the gap more significantly.

Ok, after looking at what I wrote, I'm thinking Nader isn't quite a perfect analogy for a number of obvious reasons, but it is a decent meme to be promoting. Seems like every time I jump the gun and mention some things being analogous, I am instantly overwhelmed by a sense of guilt and the ghosts of Neustadt and May compel a retraction... this one came quicker than most since I'm off to bed.

I'm still waiting for someone to say of Clinton's futile campaign that "This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen"!

That would make my day.

Well, there's this:

he Las Vegas Review Journal runs a brief Q&A with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) about settling on a Democratic nominee for president.

Q: Do you still think the Democratic race can be resolved before the convention?

Reid: Easy.

Q: How is that?

Reid: It will be done.

Q: It just will?

Reid: Yep.

Q: Magically?

Reid: No, it will be done. I had a conversation with Governor Dean (Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean) today. Things are being done.

That comes on the heels of the Bill Richardson endorsement, the anonymous DNCer making the "Tonya Harding" reference, etc.

In response to Harry Reid, I wrote, over at Ezra's place:

Some notes:

1-The Clinton campaign has argued, at length, that the super delegates will decide this thing, not pledged delegates, and that they should be using their best judgment as to what's best for the party. Are her supporters now going to argue that said super delegates are not allowed to actually discuss how they endorse? That the party leaders' judgment shouldn't be considered in their decision-making process? [note: this was in response to some Clinton supporters shaking their e-fists at Harry Reid and other 'elites' for trying to subvert the will of the people in the remaining contests]

2-There's no way the supers can move to one candidate or another en masse without the candidate already being effectively "dead" in the minds of the voters. And no matter how much the reality of the situation says one or the other candidate is dead, the voters will only see that when that becomes THE media narrative that's adopted by everyone: "Clinton's campaign is dead, and her staying in the race and going negative is only hurting the party" Until that is the generally-agreed-upon "reality" that the media creates, the supers can't weigh in at once.

3-We've already seen some signs that the "things" being ominously "done" relate to just that, above, in number 2. Richardson, party leader, endorsing Obama and in the process chiding the Clinton campaign for the tone of its attacks, and urging the party to rally around the presumptive nominee. Anonymous DNCers referring to HRC's campaign tactics by referencing Tonya Harding. I think we'll see more of that, and it will continue to drive news coverage as it already is.

4-Even that won't be enough if HRC's support doesn't abandon her. If, say, PA tells the media to F off, they really like HRC, and polls consistently show that, then the nomination battle is at least going to May 6. Of course, it's easy to imagine HRC claiming, even after a resounding loss on May 6, that it's still close, and and, KY and WV are coming up and she's polling really well there too! And then it'd be OR that ends it, all the way at the end of May. Sigh. Which means we might not go all the way to Montana, but there's a decent chance we get pretty damn close.

5-However, if HRC's support does abandon her...if the story continues to be Sniper-gate and Tonya Harding and her hurting the party, and a steady stream of supers keep endorsing Obama every couple days re-enforcing those themes about rallying around the nominee...then it could easily become a self-feeding cycle, where she's finished off before PA, where the perception of her being finished drives down her support in the state, allowing Obama to win there and big names declare, etc etc.

6-The logic of her campaign, though, certainly suggests that they could literally pull a Ted Kennedy and go all the way to the convention, just as Ickes did in 1980 when advising Kennedy. They do, afterall, continue to suggest that even the pledged delegates (excuse me, "so called" pledged delegates) can switch allegiances. As such, it doesn't even matter if Obama gets to 2025! She can still win on the 3rd ballot!

Shortly after writing that, I saw this, which really brightened my day:

At a time when Sen. Hillary Clinton is increasingly relying on superdelegates to vault her to the Democratic Party's nomination, a handful of undecided and pledged superdelegates are coming forward to say her campaign's tactics in recent weeks are doing more harm than good. ...

"In looking at the manner in which the candidates are campaigning, I think it would be best they focused their attention on the presumptive nominee and showed our party which one is better in campaigning against McCain," said Garry Shay, a California superdelegate, who announced his support for Clinton.
...

"I don't think anybody's saying 'step aside,' but 'stop with the garbage' is what people want to say," the delegate said. "Just chill a little bit."
...

Mud slinging, personal attacks and lying is never good for any political fight or party. And I see a lot of that coming from one side more than the other."

The delegates said there is little the party or its leaders can do to prevent the current back and forth. But some said they were increasingly in touch with Clinton campaign officials to say their support is in jeopardy.

"Uncommitted delegates can come out and say, 'If you don't stop this now, we won't vote for you,'" one uncommitted superdelegate said.


All in all, not to sound too into conspiracies, but I imagine there are a couple things going on here. I really do think the media is catching on to the Clinton campaign's situation and reporting it as they see it, but I also think the party leaders are orchestrating some of this push-back behind the scenes. I think the tone of many of the supers in the article I linked to above, both undeclared and declared for Clinton, suggests that they'll let this thing go all the way through June if she keeps it clean, but are ready to pull the plug anytime if she continues with this bull. And that's just too consonant with what Richardson said, and it's all coming out seemingly at once, at a time when Harry Reid says things are being done, to be a coincidence. Everyone quoted in that article sounded "on message", if refreshingly honest as well. Which is probably because the message is honest: we want everyone to get a chance to vote, but mud-slinging is bad and hurting the party, so please stop or we'll have to end this early.

And as far as I'm concerned, it's a smart strategy, if that is a concerted effort by the Dems. Drive a media campaign to create the (very real) perception that Clinton's attacks are hurting the party and her candidacy is dead, and she'll either have to go positive or concede, cause eventually, her support will leave her. Not even the Clintons can survive a full month of the coverage she's getting now, I don't think.

I guess I'm the only one who never thought this campaign was Clinton's to lose. At no point in the last two years did I ever think she was better than 50/50 to win the nomination, and usually I thought she had substantially less. It was clear to me that, once the primaries started, it was very quickly going to be Clinton vs. Non-Clinton. We didn't know until January what name Non-Clinton would run under, but the dynamic was obvious.

All in all, not to sound too into conspiracies, but I imagine there are a couple things going on here. I really do think the media is catching on to the Clinton campaign's situation and reporting it as they see it, but I also think the party leaders are orchestrating some of this push-back behind the scenes. I think the tone of many of the supers in the article I linked to above, both undeclared and declared for Clinton, suggests that they'll let this thing go all the way through June if she keeps it clean, but are ready to pull the plug anytime if she continues with this bull.

I don't have a problem with that. If she can manage to pull out a win without using mudslinging, more power to her. She's then proven she's the better candidate. And the majority of Obama supporters will accept that.

She resorts to mudslinging and tries to destroy Obama, she does not necessarily prove herself the better candidate--and she certainly won't get acceptance from Obama supporters. It divides the strength of the party, which is stupid ANY time.

If she's going to win, she has to do it cleanly and win over the supporters of the man she defeated. If she doesn't do it that way, and she loses the support of Obama backers, then she almost proves she's not suited to be the candidate (how can she run the country if she divides her own party?).

J. Micheal Neal:

I also thought that way. I thought the hand-wringing back in April as to why Obama couldn't turn his small donors into more voters in polls was really over-wrought and silly, and for a long time I felt like her campaign just fundamentally misunderstood voter behavior.

I could write pages and pages about narrative, default choices, the way press coverage drives poll numbers but how those movements become less and less important and campaign message more and more important as the election nears, etc etc, but its probably boring for most everyone ,so I'll save it.

But, bottom line was, she never seemed to have a really good affirmative message about her vision for the country and why, as voters, we should elect her. Instead, her campaign seemed to believe it could win by coasting on the fact that Dem primary voters viewed her as acceptable, and as such all they had to do was make all her opponents unacceptable, by tearing them down. I think they actually thought they had won based solely on the "naive" and "inexperienced" damage they did to Obama (which was all short-term b/c it was, again, driven by bad media cycles, not hardening voter preferences). It's a theme they've come to revisit multiple times since then, the notion that he's too green on FP, but it's less and less effective every time.

They just seem really bad at the actual task of campaigning and winning votes. For awhile there they even kept up this myth with the media that her campaign had been flawless, all the while she made flub after flub, be it a throaty defense of lobbyists, or claiming that George Bush's policies had made us safer, or plenty of others. Were they huge? No. But they certainly showed some signs that she was just out of touch with her base, an observation re-affirmed of late, I think.

Ditto J. Michael and Michael.

I find it really strange that people put any weight at all on any polls before December or so. They were just name recognition contests. I'm sure polling Joe Democrat last year got you nothing but "Richardson who? Oh Clinton! I know her."

And that was always bound to change as soon as campaigning started in earnest. The only odd thing is that it seems like the Clinton campaign wasn't really all that prepared for it...

(I should say that it's not the polls' fault. There were some insights that could be gleaned from the early polls. It's just that the name recognition factor meant that "Clinton is the clear frontrunner" really couldn't be one of them.)

But if the brawl continues, then she and her husband may be remembered by many people who long admired them as having the same effect on Mr. Obama this November that Ralph Nader had on Al Gore in 2000.

What, giving the impression that Obama and McCain are really identical politically because they're both running well to the right of Hillary Clinton? Doesn't seem likely.

Or is this part of the meme that prefers to blame Ralph Nader because people wanted to vote for him and did, rather than blame Jeb Bush for wanting his brother to have Florida's electoral votes, and rigging the election in Florida so that Dubya got them?

I think it probably is, which is sad and strange - after nearly 8 years, you'd think people could afford to accept that the 2000 election was stolen: and worrying, because if "anonymous Democratic officials" and pundits are still pretending the problem was Nader, they're clearly not getting themselves ready to resist Republicans rigging the 2008 election this November.

The only odd thing is that it seems like the Clinton campaign wasn't really all that prepared for it...

Ready on Day One!

I feel like I've shared the above sentiment when thinking about the Clinton campaign many times in the last 15 months. Obama's rise, an Iowa loss, the campaign going beyond Feb 5th, youtube making bald-faced lies unacceptable, Obama's organizing prowess...

Its bizarre, really, how her campaign could so consistently misjudge just about everything. I'm amazed they've made it this far, but I guess if you can lose 11 straight contests by blow-out and still not be considered politically dead, it becomes rather easy to hang around, making trouble.

If the party leadership won't stage an intervention and try to get her to withdraw, that's just one more reason to conclude that we need new leadership.

hilzoy,

I'm largely in agreement with the facts and speculative extrapolations from facts that you cite here, but (and this is a rare event indeed) I respectfully disagree with the conclusion you draw from them. I want Obama to win as much as just about anyone else commenting here, but I do not want to see Hillary arm-twisted into withdrawing from the race by the party leadership.

1) It is important to remember that the candidates are symbolic proxies for the voters who support or are attracted to that candidate, and it is really the voters that matter, more so than the candidates.

Forcing Hillary out will not make her voters go away, it will just deprive Obama of the opportunity to try to win them over. These voters need to feel that they were heard, that Obama at least made an attempt to address their concerns about him, and that he won after their votes were counted and came up short vs. those of his supporters, or the legitimacy of the result will be subject to question.

To stop the primary process in the near future would do more harm than good, especially if there are few undecided voters left. Voters who prefer Hillary will not be convinced by the sort of arguments you make here - hard proof in the form of results from the remaining primaries will be needed to convince them that Obama did actually win the nomination. Otherwise we will be waging a contest of hypotheticals with them to legitimize the result, and I do not think that this is a contest we can win.

In greater detail:

2) As noted by others in this thread, the problem with the HRC campaign is not their continuation of the contest, but the highly negative and polarizing tactics that they are using with increasing determination and decreasing restraint as each week passes. If the party leadership forces her out, that is solving the wrong problem.

If Hillary is forced out of the race, this carries the very serious risk of reinforcing in the minds of voters who are currently leaning away from Obama that Hillary's negative attacks on him were justified, and that she was forced out in order to protect him from valid criticism for which he does not have a convincing answer.

This will have the opposite effect from what is intended.

It will create a situation where Obama will be followed by a shadowy reflection of the HRC campaign which no longer is, but which will continue to silently snipe at him, not out in the open on the campaign trail, but in the dark, in the minds of voters who will imagine for themselves what Hillary would have said if silence had not been imposed on her.

In other words, you won't stop the negative anti-Obama campaign from running just by forcing Hillary out of the race - it will go underground and persist via conversations, email, blogs, etc. This will be even harder to rebut than the same criticisms would be if Obama were facing them out in the open.

He has to win this thing cleanly and openly, not by fiat.

If we try to take a shortcut to make it easier, the law of unintended consequences is waiting.

I think Obamamaniacs do themseves a disservice by assuming that Obama will get very close in PA.

Odds on Hillary to win by 15-20 points probably closer to 20 and paint it as a land slide. And the campaign goes on. the point should be as hilzoy noted that Obama can loose by 30 points and STILL be the more legitimate candidate.

As such even the Obamamaniacs are supporting the Clinoholics in their little suicide dance which is in danger of taking the whole democratic party down with it.

It should be reasonable to expect a candidate to withdraw when their odds slip below a certain point.

If Mrs. Clinton can run a high-minded, civil campaign and rein in her proxies…

Nice to start the day off with a good laugh.

I was pretty shocked by that 28% number. And they say Obama supporters are a cult…

I’m getting more and more concerned that Democrats really are going to put McCain in the WH. Hand them an election on a silver platter and they’re going to manage to lose it. OK, so much for the laugh…


Jes: 2000 election was stolen

Publius has a new post up with your name all over it. ;)

This may be an unpopular post, but...

Hillary has a perfect right to keep campaigning, as long as she can find support. She still has millions of supporters and is raising tens of millions of dollars per month.She owes it to those donors and supporters to push on.
I also reject the idea that she should only run a positive campaign and not criticize Obama. If she genuinely believes that he is the worse candidate, she has the right and even the obligation to say so, and give the reason why. Its up to Obama to refute her allegations, and if he is a good candidate, he will be able to do so. If he can't take a punch, then he should not be the nominee.
Now I agree that her path to the nomination is narrow. Essentially, its like waiting for lightning to strike. But that MAY happen. IT IS possible that Obama could be found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy next week, or that his long lost love child may be found.
I guess I'm saying that we should let the process work. Rather than wringing our hands and wondering why Hillary won't give up, the better option is that we should be working to register new Democratic voters, hand out flyers, and otherwise participate, rather than begging Hillary to make it easy for us.
BTW, I am an Obama supporter.

I am not one of those Obama supporters who feel Clinton should drop out. The problem is not that she is continuing the campaign, but rather the manner of the campaign.

She is not trying to show herself to be the best candidate, she is trying to paint him as the worst candidate, even when you include MvcCain into the eqution.

I have been following Presidential politics since the 60's, and even though I don't recall each and every nuance, I don't remember a single primary campaign where one candidate was harder on his opponent than the opposition party was and where one candidate painted the opposition party's candidate as more qualified.

GAry, if it happened I am sure you will be able to provide the context.

Jake Tapper talked to an anonymous Democratic Party official

Oh, and: can public contumely and ridicule bring to an end the lazy habit journalists have developed of quoting as if as a reliable source someone who is unwilling to give their name?

We have no idea who this "Democratic Party official" is. "Asking for anonymity so as to be able to speak candidly"? A responsible journalist's reaction to that, where the issue at stake is pure partisan politics (hell, pure party-infighting!) ought to be: "No, if you're unwilling to put your name to your opinion, I'm not going to publish your opinion."

Do they mind becoming the Naders of 2008? That is a rhetorical question, yes?

They will keep plugging away. If their actions assure a Republican win, then HRC has only to wait another two or so years to restart the Restoration.

If she doesn't do it that way, and she loses the support of Obama backers, then she almost proves she's not suited to be the candidate (how can she run the country if she divides her own party?).

Dunno, ask John McCain.

I also reject the idea that she should only run a positive campaign and not criticize Obama. If she genuinely believes that he is the worse candidate, she has the right and even the obligation to say so, and give the reason why.

As it happens, I completely agree with your post and in particular this point, but with a proviso: criticizing Obama on matters of policy is legitimate. Criticizing him on non-policy matters (IMO the Wright flap is included in this regard though I can see why others disagree) is out, as is criticizing him by supporting McCain (more generally, against the interests of the party as a whole), or fear-mongering, or using racial ad hominems, etc.

Mind you, the same restrictions apply to Obama, modulo the whole racism-versus-sexism dynamic. For example, should Obama start railing against the Clintons' marriage, he'd lose my support, as he would lose my support if he suggested that Clinton was unqualified because she was a woman. I don't see either as particularly likely -- that's one of the reasons I support Obama -- but they are possibilities, and hence to be avoided.

But regardless: critiques on policy are, to me, perfectly legitimate and permissible under a "positive campaign". [Something Kerry failed to realize, to hist -- and our -- cost.] A "negative campaign" to me is one in which attacks are made that are either off-topic or slanderous, not ones in which legitimate disputes are raised. Unfortunately, the press (and possibly the people) don't see it that way, so I don't see this being changed any time in the near future.

One thing we may be losing sight of here is that as unsavory as Hillary's attacks on (and occasional outright mockery of) Obama are, a negative campaign will not work against McCain. His strengths - perceived authenticity, long record in the Senate, including some bi-partisan bills, patriotism - are her biggest weaknesses. Not to mention that she and Bill have already indicated that McCain is better qualified than Obama to be commander-in-chief.

If Hillary really wants to get some Supers on her side, she needs to start running a positive campaign immediately so we can see how well she does at it before we pick a nominee. Obama, despite the occasional mis-steps, has proven that he can inspire voters with a positive message that not only brings new Dem voters into the process, but also reaches some independents and conservatives. Hillary needs to prove she can do the same.

I'm not so sure about that, Jes. I understand that the whole construct of anonymity has been used to spin people, but in this case, isn't it important to get a glimpse behind the curtain? I'm not positive, but I think that if an anonymous source simply gives something that is an obvious lie (I have a memory of this happening, but I can't recall specifics right now), that's hugely problematic, but I imagine there are instances where a reporter arranges the information s/he has gotten and then goes to someone and says 'is this the situation?' and the person refuses to go on the record, then the reporter is actually _not_ doing their job if they refuse to publish.

Again, I'm not 100% positive about this, but I am thinking that there is a difference in what the information is and why it is being disseminated.

I understand that the whole construct of anonymity has been used to spin people, but in this case, isn't it important to get a glimpse behind the curtain?

Not when we have no idea who built the stage set that we're being allowed to peek at.

but I imagine there are instances where a reporter arranges the information s/he has gotten and then goes to someone and says 'is this the situation?' and the person refuses to go on the record, then the reporter is actually _not_ doing their job if they refuse to publish.

Well, that depends what your concept of the reporter's job is. Mine is (idealistically!) that a reporter's job is to provide the public with information, to make clear what their political bias is personally, and to make clear the political bias/background of their sources where relevant.

Given that the topic is party infighting, saying the source is a "Democratic party official" is failing to do an important part of the reporter's job: make clear what the bias of the information is.

What is your idea of a reporter's job that it doesn't include giving the public the information they need to decide if this is just a pro-Obama smear of Hillary Clinton, or a pro-Clinton partisan admitting Clinton can't win, or someone who has no discernable preference between these two candidates because they always wanted Edwards, or a DINO who may actually prefer McCain...

The reporter would be doing their job properly if, in the scenario you outlined, they said "I spoke with a Democratic Party official, who gave me his opinion on the situation, but refused to be identified as he was afraid that if he went public with his opinions it would damage his future career." That would be an honest peek behind the curtain - making clear the tension and infighting currently going on in the Democratic Party - without allowing this "D P O" to take a shot in the party battle from cover by publishing the equivalent of an anonymous muckraking letter.

"Nader of 2008"(?!)


DNC/RNC have exposed themselves.
'Clintons v McCain = Clintons'
Dynasties & Coronations.
Not this time -
not even as VP...

gravel kucinich paul nader
cynthia mckinney too

dare speak truth
demand peace

Here's what I don't understand. The media continues to say that Clinton is "polarizing" (heard it again this morning on CNN). And yet, if she ultimately takes the nomination, only 19% of Obama supporters will defect - considerably less than would those who are supporting Clinton. If Clinton becomes the nominee, she unifies more of the party than if Obama becomes the nominee. Based on these numbers, it is Obama's nomination that has more of a likelihood to split the party, cause Democrats to vote for McCain, and lead to a catastrophic loss.

Now, I also am an Obama supporter. And I do disagree with some of the tactics of the Clinton campaign. But I don't understand how we can continue to say that it is Clinton's presence in this ongoing race that is driving a wedge into the party and risking the Presidency in the face of these numbers. Both Democratic candidates have a great deal of support (45-45 anyone?), but it appears that Clinton's ability to rally and hold onto the base is the stronger of the two.

TLTIABQ: "As noted by others in this thread, the problem with the HRC campaign is not their continuation of the contest, but the highly negative and polarizing tactics that they are using with increasing determination and decreasing restraint as each week passes. If the party leadership forces her out, that is solving the wrong problem."

I would feel differently if I thought that there was some way of changing HRC's tactics. As it is, I think that there isn't, and this colors my analysis.

I don't get the part about how the fact that HRC still has supporters means that she should stay in. In every primary race that's contested, someone ultimately withdraws. Normally, they do so when they see that they can't win. At this point, they normally still have supporters, including supporters in states that haven't voted yet.

For instance, I hadn't voted yet when Clark withdrew in 2004. I still supported him. But I didn't think that Clark "owed it to me" to continue his campaign past the point where he could no longer realistically expect to win. And he had a better argument that he still had a shot than Clinton, not having gotten nearly as close as she has to mathematical impossibility. It just wasn't going to happen, so he withdrew.

This isn't unusual at all. And it's certainly not "not listening to his supporters", let alone "disenfranchising them." Which is why, as I am surely not the first person to say, when Clinton hoped to put it away on Super Tuesday, she was not hoping to disenfranchise most of the country. She was just hoping to win.

I should also say: I expect that the way this would happen would be by a slow bleed of superdelegate support that would eventually push the Clintons into mathematical impossibility.

And yet, if she ultimately takes the nomination, only 19% of Obama supporters will defect - considerably less than would those who are supporting Clinton. If Clinton becomes the nominee, she unifies more of the party than if Obama becomes the nominee.

This is true if and only if the two candidates are drawing upon the same pool of supporters, i.e., the same Democratic voters. This may not be the case if they draw upon somewhat different blocs of voters.

All in all, as long as this doesn't drag out all summer, things will be fine. Yes, the Clinton campaign will play dirty, but I agree with what people have said above: the supers are simply turning the negative campaigning right back at HRC, demonizing her further with the media.

Now, if she went POSITIVE, and actually praised Obama, then her campaign might have some merit because the supers could see going for her without the risk of alienating the entire African American voting bloc. For example, if she had stood up for him during the Wright kerfluffle, many people would have been impressed and would've thought twice.

The entire problem for the supers is trying to force a winner so the loser (and their donors) can keep their dignity intact. With the Clintons, that problem is magnified by virtue of them being the most visible Dems for the past 16 years. Eventually, it will come to a decision to have a floor fight, divide Democratic party resources, and lose the election, OR force the issue BEFORE the convention, allow time for scabs and wounds and egos to heal, then move on forward to the general.

So the takehome message is that HRC can stay in the race, if she stays away from pure negative campaigning. Phil Bredesen's "mini-convention" for undecided supers will likely be held. In no way should Mark Penn or Harold Ickes hold the fate of the entire Democratic party in their hand, and I think the Dem party leadership recognizes them for the dinosaurs that they are.

Good posts here, by the way. Bravo to Michael and some others for being so thoughtful.

Also, people despairing about McCain need to relax. All the advantages will reassert themselves once the general is up and running. McCain's ONLY advantage is that he is a media darling and he has many boyfriends on TV.

In response to the supporter who argues upthread that Clinton is not a polarizing figure: I think she is becuase she uses divide and conquer techinques which are inherently polarizing. The fact that a bigger porportin of Obama supporters will vote for the party's candidate regardless of the choice dones't mean she isn't. it just shows how much Kool Aid people have to drink in order to continue rationalizing their support for her.

This is by the way a change of mind for me. Before the campaign started i didn't think she was polarizing. I thought that descriptor was a rightwing smear.

But she's been doing very little except divide the Deomcrats since she started this campaign.

BTW, Obama basically called for the race to end in June today, and Pelosi doubled down on saying it would be very harmful to the party for the supers to overturn the winner of the pledged D's

I really don't think this will go past June based on the last few days of press, and what's more, I think the more Clinton stays negative, the more we will the slow bleed Hilzoy imagines. I agree, that's the way it would have to be. And I think each one that endorses and cites Clinton's negative campaigning hurting the party, and the need to rally against McCain, only increases the pressure on Clinton to let up.

We'll see how her campaign pivots off this stuff. But all of a sudden a lot of party leaders and uncommitted supers and even Clinton-supporting supers are in the news, talking the race, and basically echoing what we're saying here. That's a good sign, and makes me feel more confident in Dem party leadership

wonkie and erin:

Something to consider. Clinton has been actively campaigning against the notion that Obama is even fit to be President for over a year now. I mentioned this up-thread, but, her campaign strategy from the start was to capitalize on the fact that the vast majority of Dem primary voters viewed her as meeting all the "threshold" qualities (electable, fit to be President, whatever), so the only thing they had to do was argue that none of the other candidates were fit to be Pres. Now, her fundraising made everyone but Obama irrelevant, anyway. So it was, no surprise, at Obama where she trained her fire, early and consistently.

So, as far back as April, she was telling her most ardent supporters that Obama was too soft on terrorism to be President (he wants to make sure the 1st response is good and the intelligence good in response to a terrorist attack!! I want to bomb someone, IMMEDIATELY), was too "naive" and "inexperienced" to be President, isn't committed to universal healthcare and as such can't be trusted, doesn't meet the Commander-in-Chief threshold, there's a boogey-man behind that unvetted corner!, and on and on and on. And, of late, she's taken to telling same supporters that John McCain is just oh-so-dreamy! He has experience, he meets the C-in-C threshold, he loves his country and doesn't have to deal with all that "other stuff" (*cough* race *cough*)

So, less than 1 in 3 HRC supporters agree, but still, a significant minority, no doubt. Most of the damage can be undone if Obama's nomination is viewed as legit, which means Hillary dropping the fuss about MI and FL, and is seen as the standard-bearer for the Dems, which means HRC giving a strong, full-throated endorsement.

If HRC, on the other hand, continues to make hay about MI and FL into June and promises to take her Jay Jerome and go home...well, that'd be a problem. If HRC insists on staying negative and trashing Obama's credibility, that's a problem. All signs say the party isn't gonna let that happen, but the question is really, how is she going to respond to this pressure? She could stand down, or she could escalate. If she escalates, we're talking legit intra-party war.

If the superdelegates are as concerned as they claim, all they need do is stand up and tell the Clinton's to pack it up. I wrote the following on swimming freestyle:

"This isn't rocket science.

It's pretty clear the Clinton campaign plans to continue it's campaign despite the terrible odds at getting a nomination. They will continue at the expense of ripping the Party apart. All Governor Bresden and the superdelegates have to do is take a stand and tell the Clinton campaign to pack it up: the rules are the candidate with the most pledged delegates wins. Simple enough?"
(http://swimmingfreestyle.typepad.com)

The reporter would be doing their job properly if, in the scenario you outlined, they said "I spoke with a Democratic Party official, who gave me his opinion on the situation, but refused to be identified as he was afraid that if he went public with his opinions it would damage his future career."

Try getting that past an editor...

Let's say Clinton floats down to reality and sees that she cannot possibly get the nomination unless Obama implodes.
Besides the fact that after this amount of time and Obama has not imploded and the worse they can find on the guy is pastor saying some stupid things.
If she wants to stay in, just in case, why can't she just do a semi campaign. Keep it active to an extent and go back to the senate and if they guy is fine after a few months, just shut it down.
I don't know why she has to go at this like a Rovian republican.

It seems to me that one big reason the contest has been prolonged is that the media has constantly reported on the race with words like "neck and neck" and "see-saw", even though Obama has been ahead from the beginning (a rather strange see-saw that never tilts) and his lead has gotten closer and closer to insurmountable. It's quite understandable that in those circumstances Clinton supporters would continue to pour money and volunteer efforts into her campaign and that she'd continue to get votes.

If any other candidate were in her position (Obama, for example), the media would have been treating them like Huckabee for quite some time now, and the campaign's money and supporters would be drying up. The national polls would not be so close in that case.

So I think the only hope is for the media narrative to change, but I worry about how many hardened Clinton fanatics there are at this point who will only see any change at the big mad media beating up on poor Hillary (understandably, considering history).

Hilzoy, great post. I'm tapped to give a speech at the next caucus level here in Washington (the State, not the District), and I may well incorporate your "enabler" point, to try to sway some Hillary delegates.

Actually, I intend to go back thru your pro-Obama posts generally for material. Thanks.

don't get the part about how the fact that HRC still has supporters means that she should stay in. In every primary race that's contested, someone ultimately withdraws. Normally, they do so when they see that they can't win. At this point, they normally still have supporters, including supporters in states that haven't voted yet.

hilzoy,

My comment was too unfocused and didn't communicate my point very well, so I'll try again.

It isn't really about the candidates any more. Focus on the voters, not the candidates.

We (I speak of myself here as well) tend to conflate 3 things that are distinct:

1- the candidate
2- the formal campaign (staff, speeches, rallies, etc.)
3- the informal campaign in the minds of the voters.

#3 is what I'm addressing - the informal campaign is a bundle of related memes working their way thru the minds of the voters, to some degree under the control of the candidate and their formal campaign, and to some degree not.

My point is that beyond a certain point (which I think we've passed in this case) the informal campaign (bundle of memes) develops a momentum and a life of its own, independent of the actual candidate and the formal campaign. You can shut down the formal campaign but these memes will continue to circulate, and they will do so in an undirected and uncontrolled way.

Arm-twisting Hillary into shutting down her campaign now will be like removing the rider (Hillary) from a galloping horse (anti-Obama voters and the memes which are driving their decisions) - the horse will continue to run wild, only now with no one in control of it. It would be foolish to remove the rider while the horse is still running, and we need the rider to do that for us.

You have to convince Hillary's voters that Obama has won fair and square. You can't do that, I can't do that, the DNC can't do that; nobody but Hillary can do that. And if she concedes in a way that her voters feel was fake or coerced, then they won't listen to her when she concedes. Instead the informal campaign will continue (which means propagating negative memes concerning Obama) led by a shadowy virtual Hillary who exists only in the minds of voters who do not think the real Hillary’s concession was sincere, and will imagine for themselves what she would have said and done if she had not been strong armed into withdrawing from the race.

This is worse than dealing with the real Hillary and her real campaign, because shadows are impossible to pin down and rebut. It is better to fight a real opponent than to box with shadows.

A historical analogy:

If Hillary concedes and some significant fraction of her voters feel it was coerced, that will as if in June of 1945 the Allies had somehow kidnapped the Japanese Emperor Hirohito and made him record his famous "the war has developed not necessarily to our advantage” speech at gunpoint while being held hostage. How much good would that have done in pacifying the Japanese people and their armed forces? Would it have brought the war to a swift end, or made things worse and guaranteed that some sort of insurgency would continue the struggle into 1946 and beyond, after the end of formal hostilities.

Michael writes:

"Its bizarre, really, how her campaign could so consistently misjudge just about everything. I'm amazed they've made it this far, but I guess if you can lose 11 straight contests by blow-out and still not be considered politically dead, it becomes rather easy to hang around, making trouble."

And that is the problem. The media was so caught up in the horse race, the myth of the Clinton machine and the drama. And maybe a little skeptical that Obama, who they totally underestimated, could do something the rightwing machine in 20 years failed to do. Beat the Clintons.
They still have not completely accepted the fact that she totally mismanaged her campaign and the money, and keep saying she is so competent even now.
I've noticed they are keeping more of a death watch over Obama, waiting for the conventional wisdom to take hold that 'no one can beat the Clintons'.
Despite the Politico article about this, the press has been the biggest enablers of Clinton staying in. They treat her like it's neck and neck. A tie. If they started to treat her like they should, say like Huckabee, she may get the message.

The reporter would be doing their job properly if, in the scenario you outlined, they said "I spoke with a Democratic Party official, who gave me his opinion on the situation, but refused to be identified as he was afraid that if he went public with his opinions it would damage his future career."

Isn't that what "a Democratic Party official, who asked for anonymity so as to speak candidly" translates to? What would be the advantage of the wordier version, and why do you think the shorter (and less inflammatory) version is somehow a violation of journalism?

shorter me:

I'm making an ends-means distinction here.

Convincing pro-Hillary voters that Obama is the legitimate winner is the end.

IMHO putting pressure on the HRC campaign to shut down is not going to be an effective means to achieve that end, because it will decouple her campaign from the sentiments of the voters, leaving the latter unconvinced, and doing so in a way that will preclude convincing them later.

Isn't that what "a Democratic Party official, who asked for anonymity so as to speak candidly" translates to?

No. That's what it would translate to if Jake Tapper had then refrained from quoting the "candid speech". Which is precisely my complaint.

What would be the advantage of the wordier version, and why do you think the shorter (and less inflammatory) version is somehow a violation of journalism?

Quoting an anonymous source from within the party about the party infighting is what I see as a violation of journalism. If Mr Anonymous didn't want to be named, he shouldn't have been quoted.

While I'd like to hope that the party leaders have a plan to save us, and I find the Richardson endorsement, Reid's cryptic statement, and a few other developments promising, I notice that Richardson's endorsement has not started a trickle of other superdelegates endorsing Obama. The undeclared superdelegates remain as timidly on the fence as ever.

I would like to see enough of them come out so that there were equal numbers for Clinton and Obama, so the superdelegate thumb would be off the scale and the delegate totals could reflect the whole lead among pledged delegates. But that's not happening, and it's worrisome.

Also worrisome is that no Democratic leaders have defended Obama during the Wright flap, unless I've missed something. Actually, Donna Brazile did a good job yesterday, but other than that Huckabee, of all people, seems to have been the most prominent Obama defender. McCain at least had the decency to keep his mouth shut about it, unlike Clinton, who's using people who used to be her mortal enemies to keep the story alive.

Thanks for the clarification, Jes. I agree that the use of anonymous sources is too common and raises ethical issues, but I recognize that some stories require using them, and some of those are important. The dividing line isn't obvious, so reasonable people can disagree about where to draw it.

LeftTurn, you're right that we need to minimize the number of Clinton soldiers holed up on Pacific islands who haven't heard that the war is over.

KCinDC: The dividing line isn't obvious, so reasonable people can disagree about where to draw it.

I agree the dividing line isn't always obvious. But I think that quoting an inside-the-party source about party infighting is a long way over the line from acceptable.

One, it's not majorly important - it's not like the war with Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Iran. It's only about which of the two Democratic nominees is likely to become the candidate, and despite what people may feel when all caught up in it, this is just not a big issue compared with questions like: Will Bush attack Iran in his last months? If McCain gets in, will McCain attack Iran? If either Obama or Clinton get in, how soon can they withdraw the US military from Iraq? Etc. These are big issues: to Obama and Clinton, which one of them wins may currently be filling their whole sky, but globally speaking, it doesn't matter very much so long as it's not McCain.

Two: As I said - because this is anonymous, in-party, about in-party in-fighting, we have no idea what Mr Anonymously-Candid's statement actually means. Is it a lie designed to tilt support towards Obama? Or a lie to tilt support towards Clinton? Or a lie intended to pit both of them against the other, advantaging McCain? Or could it be an accurate description of the current situation? Without the crucial information to know whose side Candidly Anonymous is on, which faction s/he supports, we have no idea. It's an occasion where being anonymous makes information non-information.

LeftTurn, you're right that we need to minimize the number of Clinton soldiers holed up on Pacific islands who haven't heard that the war is over.

I'm a nihonphile, so that analogy doesn't seem as derogatory to me as it might to some people. I have a lot of sympathy for the ordinary people of Japan who were drafted and sent out to fight in the Pacific War for their empire willing or no. Not the ones who committed atrocities (e.g., like at Nanjing), but the others.

Jes, I don't agree that the choice between Obama and Clinton is trivial, especially in the area of approach to foreign policy, and most of the people here seem to feel it's important as well.

I don't think that the Tony Harding analogy can really be characterized as a lie, since it's just an opinion about the state of the contest. People can evaluate whether it fits the situation on their own. It seems pretty accurate to me, since I have yet to hear any explanation of how Clinton can get the nomination at this point without Obama being destroyed, and her campaign's behavior doesn't suggest that she's passively waiting for that destruction to somehow happen on its own.

I know you don't. I just think that the belief this is of overwhelming importance is caused by being too close to it. Compare the issue of "Obama or Clinton" with "Obama/Cinton or McCain"? Which is more important? Doesn't the difference between Obama and Clinton start to look more trivial when you consider the effects on foreign policy of McCain for the next four to eight years?

I don't think that the Tony Harding analogy can really be characterized as a lie, since it's just an opinion about the state of the contest.

An anonymous opinion, therefore one which we have no idea of the political slant, therefore one which is valueless considered a source of information: of use only in what it can make people think is happening. I

One, it's not majorly important

I'd disagree for precisely the same reasons that KCinDC mentioned: it's important because there's a significant amount of daylight between Obama and Clinton's (stated) positions on Iraq and the on . It's important -- at least to the US -- because it will determine the shape of the races to come.

That said, I agree that there's a significant amount of undetermined bias in the statement, and some information about into which camp the source fell would be useful. A violation of journalistic integrity, though, doesn't strike me as right in this case. Anonymous sources should be shunned when they cite press releases (i.e. the party line) as honest and hidden truth -- particularly as functions of government -- and quoting them as if they've said something profound is a violation of journalistic integrity. This, though... this is gossip, but that's different than a press release IMO and, though dicey, is permissible.

YMMV, obviously.

LeftTurn, I didn't really intend it to be derogatory. It ties in with my point about the media. I don't blame people for continuing to support their candidate past the point where that support is actually helpful to Democratic chances in November, when they're hearing constant media reinforcement of the idea that their candidate is still in the game.

Supporters who follow things more closely and are aware of the true situation are another matter, but they're a much smaller proportion of the population.

Huh. That should be Iraq and the on .

Also, fyi: typepad doesn't like those characters (< and >) if you preview; it converts them into HTML tags upon posting, which then are discarded because the text in them isn't a legitimate tag. Be warned, though who wish to make stupid jokes!

Ha! My captcha was "t3gash". Apparently someone else was disappointed in the movie.

Good grief. I want to try this one last time: That should be Iraq and the < redacted > on < something akin to terror, unless it's not >

Jes, the fact that the choice between a Democrat and McCain is more important than the choice between Obama and Clinton does not mean that the latter choice is unimportant.

Aside from foreign policy differences, Obama and Clinton represent very different futures for the Democratic Party. That may be trivial to you, but some of us think it's important that the opposition to the Republican Party be a strong as possible in the coming years, and that may even affect those of you who view US internal party politics as a meaningless game.

I'd disagree for precisely the same reasons that KCinDC mentioned: it's important because there's a significant amount of daylight between Obama and Clinton's (stated) positions on Iraq

It's trivial by comparison, because even if you can measure several inches of daylight between Obama and Clinton, there's a whole abyssal chasm of darkness between either of them and McCain. It's like you're saying "Ute Mountain is much higher than Mesa Verde!" and I say yes, and compared to Mount Everest they're both quite small: and you look at me oddly and say "They're not so small, and Ute Mountain is much higher than Mesa Verde!" and so on.

This, though... this is gossip

And, anonymously, is useless as information. All it tells us is that someone inside the Democratic Party who does not want to be identified wants you to think this about Obama and Clinton. And this is reasonable behavior on the part of a party hack: that's their job. What lacks journalistic integrity is doing a party hack's job for them, without acknowledging this in the article.

Obama and Clinton represent very different futures for the Democratic Party.

Both of them do: the black President and the woman President. Neither of them do: they've neither of them committed to cleaning out the house.

it's important that the opposition to the Republican Party be a strong as possible in the coming years

That would be nice. That would have taken a more left-wing candidate to be sure of it than either Obama or Clinton, though. Both of them come across as reasonably likely to oppose the Republican party if considered as a general gestalt: neither one has actually committed themselves to that opposition.

I can see how a reasonable person might decide for one or the other, and might feel very strongly about the rightness of their decision. But I cannot see how a reasonable person would think this was at all important compared to the disaster if McCain got in.

Which is why, as I said last time I got into an argument on an Obama v. Clinton thread, I think it matters that people stick to positive campaigning for their preferred candidate, rather than - as this anonymous Democratic official appears to be doing, though as he's anonymous, who can say? - doing negative campaiging against the candidate who isn't.

If someone can explain to me how what Clinton is doing isn't the Tonya Harding option, then I'm happy to abandon any talk of that. The damage that Clinton is doing to Democratic prospects is still happening whether we talk about it or try to ignore it.

"I have been following Presidential politics since the 60's, and even though I don't recall each and every nuance, I don't remember a single primary campaign where one candidate was harder on his opponent than the opposition party was and where one candidate painted the opposition party's candidate as more qualified."

GAry, if it happened I am sure you will be able to provide the context.

Posted by: john miller | March 27, 2008 at 07:37 AM

I'm not Gary thank god, but in 2000 during the Republican primary George Bush or his surrogates attacked John McCain in the following ways:

1. He has an uncontrolable temper.

2. He is crazy.

3. He was brainwashed by the North Vietnamese, and is now their Manchurian candidate.

4. He betrayed his fellow soldiers while captive.

5. His wife is a drug addict and thief.

6. He fathered an illegitimate black child.

I'm still probably missing some of them, but that was what I could come up with off the cuff.

I don't think Hillary is responsible for the muslim slur, but even if she were her attacks wouldn't be outside accepted norms of political campaigning.

I don't think Obama is made out of spun glass but you guys make me wonder sometimes.

I'm fine with a drumbeat to try to get Hillary out of the campaign. Any airtime that gets necessarily comes at the expense of real attacks on Obama the actual nominee.

I hope she does do Obama the favor of staying in the race. The negative campaigning she's doing, constitutes a light warm-up for the real negative campaigning the Republicans are going to do once Hilary makes it official.

John Miller: "...I don't remember a single primary campaign where one candidate was harder on his opponent than the opposition party was and where one candidate painted the opposition party's candidate as more qualified."

Frank: "...in 2000 during the Republican primary George Bush or his surrogates attacked John McCain...."

John McCain didn't run in the general election. Thus the opposition party didn't campaign against him at all. Which is what John Miller asked about.

(Neither did the Bush campaign assert that John Kerry was more qualified than John McCain in any way.)

Jes,

I will enter into the fray about the importance of Obama vs. Clinton with this comment: Did you see/hear the Bosnia claim that C made? Did you understand that it was a complete lie? Did you understand that there was going to be easily found video footage to prove that? She knew this and still opted for the momentary advantage over the long-term disadvantage. That alone would make her dead meat for the Republicans. Add to that her response to the reporters who questioned her about it: A very nasty, "So I made a mistake. It just proves I am human, which SOME people don't seem to think that I am!" Frankly, it demonstrated for me why I don't think she can get elected, and also why she should not. Choosing Hillary as our nominee very likely assures us of McCain winning the election. That is why this whole question is so important to me, and probably to a number of others as well.

Frank: I didn't like it when Bush did it either. Also, I don't recall having said that Obama was not perfectly capable of defending himself. I just think that Clinton is doing damage to the party.

Hilzoy- People are always saying that, but as far as I'm aware all the evidence goes the other way.

I lifted this from Kevin Drum:

Figures released by Pennsylvania's Department of State on Monday night showed that Democrats have topped 4 million registered voters, the first time either party in the state has crossed that threshold. Democrats have added 161,000 to their rolls, a gain of about 4 percent; Republican registration has dipped about 1 percent, to 3.2 million.

That is consistent with the pattern since the beginning of the year: Democratic turnout in primaries and caucuses has topped Republican turnout, often by huge differences.

If the long primary campaign is motivating more people to register as Democrats, that's a huge advantage for November. The act of registering causes you to identify with the party you registered with, and once that's happened you're almost certain to vote for that party in the general election too. If Democrats have boosted their rolls by 2-4% nationwide, that's a massive headstart for the presidential election.

If the long primary campaign is motivating more people to register as Democrats, that's a huge advantage for November. The act of registering causes you to identify with the party you registered with, and once that's happened you're almost certain to vote for that party in the general election too. If Democrats have boosted their rolls by 2-4% nationwide, that's a massive headstart for the presidential election.

Frank,

What is your take on the Rush Limbaugh GOTV for Hillary controversy? I'm not sure what to make of it since I've read conflicting claims about the size of this phenomenon. Aren't you worried that some of these registration figures may be misleading if voters with no intention of voting Dem in November are registering to vote in closed Democratic primaries?

hilzoy: "Do the Clintons really want to risk becoming the Naders of 2008?"

Why not ask the alternate question: Does Obama want to risk becoming the Nader of 2008? Or more to the point the Jimmy Carter of 2008, 2012?

Nader only chipped off a sliver of the total Democratic pie: nationally he got less then 3% of the vote; and of those only about 1% were Democrats, the rest Independents. Nader may or may not have tipped the election (other 3rd party candidates were running in Florida and elsewhere who siphoned away votes) but after the election Democrats pretty much went back to being Democrats, and before the primary season started, Democrats were united in a tidal wave of opposition to Iraq and Bush. All the polls showed it. Bad marks for Republicans. High marks for Democrats.

Until Obama entered the presidential race that is, and then a slow decline of Democratic unity, and now the Democratic voting block is split in half. And split in a way you're not going to be able to super-glue back together.

This isn't a temporary Nader-like flake-off, but a Reagan-Democrats-like fissure, with long-time repercussions. Obama (and his supporters) have Jimmy Carter-like opened a fracturing wedge - wider than the Anti-Hillary wedge - and it's not going to close if Obama's the candidate.

Some of the 28% of disgruntled Clinton Democrats who say they'll vote for McCain will undoubtedly change their minds - but a significant number wont. I'm predicting at least 10% to 12% will vote for McCain, and another 5% will just sit out the election. Not only will that reduce the number of people voting for a Democratic president, it will cost Democrats seats in congress too -- with worse future repercussions: if present disgruntled Clinton Democrats follow the pattern of the Reagan Democrats who abandoned the party after Jimmy Carter, they won't be back for a long time, if ever.

Song To Obamites

Bye bye, demographic working-class.
Bye bye, happiness.
Hello, loneliness.
I think I'm a-gonna cry-y.

There goes your voters
With-a someone new.
They sure look happy
I sure am blue.
They were our constituency
'Til Obama stepped in.
Goodbye to a liberal-government
That might have been…

Frank, I definitely think the opportunity during the primaries and caucuses for Democrats to register voters, build GOTV infrastructure, and generally get energized in various states can help in November. That certainly doesn't depend on having Clinton out there saying McCain would be a better president than Obama or extending the life of the Wright flap. Those newly registered and energized Democrats don't do us much good if large segments of them are convinced that the Democratic nominee is an anti-American white-hating Islamofascist Manchurian candidate who's unfit to be commander in chief, so they'd better vote for McCain instead.

And Jay is back with his outrage that anyone had the temerity to challenge Queen Hillary for her rightful claim to the throne. Primaries are an abomination!

LeftTurn- I dunno. All the Republicans I know about that would consider voting Democratic say Obama only. I think there have been exit polls which support either position.

I know we don't stick together the way Republicans do, but there have been much more divisive primaries for us, 1968 for one.

JJ: After someone wins the popular vote and pledged delegates, they don't get to be the Nader. They get to be the Gore. If you want to say that Gore stole the race from Nader, be my guest.

And just to keep all you kissy-kissy-face Obama groupies aware of the big picture, according to the most recent Rasmussen poll on the subject:

"A solid majority of Democrats, 62%, aren’t ready for either candidate to leave the race." And of those Democratic voters nationwide who want one or the other candidate to drop out, the numbers are identical: 22% want Obama to drop out; 22% want Clinton to drop out.

So there's no consensus nationally for either candidate to drop out. But you wouldn't know it from the one-sided skewed anti-Clinton rants from this OEPB (Obama Elitist Progressive Blog)--.

Again, I suggest you change the name from Obsidian Wings to Obama Wings, as a partisan warning label for the unwary.

Disclosure: This thread was paid for by the Committee to Elect John McCain.

"JJ: After someone wins the popular vote and pledged delegates, they don't get to be the Nader. They get to be the Gore. If you want to say that Gore stole the race from Nader, be my guest."

You have to stop making finicky observations about how the silverware is arranged on the table, hilzoy, and attend to the roast and potatoes.

"A solid majority of Democrats, 62%, aren’t ready for either candidate to leave the race." And of those Democratic voters nationwide who want one or the other candidate to drop out, the numbers are identical: 22% want Obama to drop out; 22% want Clinton to drop out.

I'd love to know how many of those voters actually know the delegate numbers. I have no trouble believing that a large number of ill-informed Democrats have been told by the media that Clinton has a meaningful chance of winning the nomination. [This whole neck-and-neck garbage.] My suspicion is that once people realize how the delegates are being apportioned, those numbers will shift dramatically.

You have to stop making finicky observations about how the silverware is arranged on the table, hilzoy, and attend to the roast and potatoes.

Sexist and stupid. Well done.

"all you kissy-kissy-face"

Being curious about language, I have to ask: what do you intend this to mean, Jay?

And you never, that I noticed, answered my question as to what you intend to do if -- by some impossible chance, this question is purely hypothetical, of course -- Obama is the nominee? Vote for McCain? Sit on your hands?

Optional extra credit: what is it you hate about Obama so much, anyway? I suspect I'm not the only one less than entirely clear, though I could be wrong.

KCinDC: "And Jay is back with his outrage that anyone had the temerity to challenge Queen Hillary for her rightful claim to the throne."

I was hoping for a complete return of the monarchy: His&Her Royal Majesties of the Trillion Dollar Surplus.

KCinDC- Sure but that is my main point. If Hillary weren't in the race right now the cable news shows would be selling the Obama is an "anti-American white-hating Islamofascist Manchurian candidate who's unfit to be commander in chief" narative 24-7.

I'm not claiming that she never forwards the Republican narrative. Unfortunately sometimes she does. Conceivably there are even some idiots out there who's advanced senility will cause them to buy into those portions of the narrative Hillary advances all the more "because even Democrats believe Obama wants to kill him some ofays."

But. The press and the right wing noise machine hate Hillary with all their hearts and all their strength and all their souls. Her saying it discredits it for them and they often can't help saying so.

And. If she weren't around to kick they would organize an all out community style barbeque and lynching party. Rope, tree, brown person, some assembly required.

Ok maybe that was over the top. I just don't want to give them the opportunity to get together and concentrate on Barak.

I just don't buy the idea that because some people are getting overheated about this primary fight on the internet, catastrophic damage is being done to the Democratic party.

I don't know how reliable the polls are about who would leave the party, but there probably are a few who either won't vote for a woman or won't vote for a black man. Thats too bad and all, but I don't see it spelling the end of the party.

I admit I was for Edwards because I was concerned about those people, but if we can win without them I'll be overjoyed.

Jay: you have skirted the edge of ourrules -- specifically, the ones about being reasonably civil, and not vilifying commenters -- for some time. Please stop.

Consider this a warning.

g. farber: "Being curious about language, I have to ask: what do you intend this to mean, Jay?"

The kissy-kissy face reference is a Hollywood thing, Gary; like when an agent or some other sycophant makes obeisance to a film star or director or producer -- you know, making nice-nice with the lips, sometimes north of the neck, sometimes (metaphorically) south of the hips.

And you never, that I noticed, answered my question as to what you intend to do if -- by some impossible chance, this question is purely hypothetical, of course -- Obama is the nominee? Vote for McCain? Sit on your hands?

Asked and answered, Gary -- you asked me in another thread, I responded, and you then said something like: OK, thanks...

Frank, there is a huge difference between Democrats being told something by Republicans or even the media and Democrats being told the same thing by their preferred Democratic candidate and by the previous Democratic president.

"Jay: you have skirted the edge of ourrules -- specifically, the ones about being reasonably civil, and not vilifying commenters -- for some time. Please stop."

Did I? I apologize if I hurt anyone's feelings...

Jay: it's not about hurt feelings. It's a rule.

But. The press and the right wing noise machine hate Hillary with all their hearts and all their strength and all their souls. Her saying it discredits it for them and they often can't help saying so.

Frank,

I'm starting to come around to a similar viewpoint - that it may not be hurting Obama as much a we initially thought to have Hillary previewing for us what the RW Noise Machine will throw at him in November. This is because she just isn't very good at doing it (making the negative attacks) and because there is enough of an anti-Clinton bias in the media such that these attacks are being discredited by association with a messenger that the media can't help but snear at.

Also, I think the MSM is quite frankly starting to get bored with the whole "this is still a neck-and-neck horse race" story.

I expect this thing to formally drag on thru the Oregon primary (by which point I think enough superdelegates will have pledged for Obama to put him over the top), but I think the MSM will call it as being essentially over after the NC primary, if the votes there come in the way they are currently polling.

Hmm I think this one was at Kevin Drum's site too but I'm not sure when. There was a study done on how people responded to true and false information. IIRC the upshot was that if you hear it often enough, particularly for older people, even if you are told it is false the repetition leads to belief.

I basicly bought the idea of the study because it agrees with my experience. People who buy into Republican propaganda including me when I was younger, aren't making a reasoned decision about what to believe, they are absorbing information and figuring that something they hear often is true. I can see why that made sense for a member of a hunter gatherer tribe, but these days it mainly benefits people who's interest is in lying to us.

KCinDC- What I'm saying is that I don't think it is that big a difference. No one using his or her noggin is going to believe Obama is an "anti-American white-hating Islamofascist Manchurian candidate who's unfit to be commander in chief."
Claiming that Hillary believes that is a way of giving a reason to believe an otherwise crazy story, but if you are thinking criticaly about it its not going to prevent you from realizing its BS. If you are looking for an excuse to believe that crap then maybe it'll work, but you really aren't a likely Democratic voter. For instance I don't for a moment believe Jay Jerome ever has or ever will vote for a Democrat.

Finaly Hillary has never said any of that stuff. That won't stop the right wing from claiming that she has, but if you think about it you will realize I'm telling the truth.

Jay,

John Cole will probably want to slap me upside the head for saying this, but have you considered posting over at Balloon Juice (another mixed audience blog which is trending pro-Obama right now) rather than doing so here at OW?

The style and tone of your typical comments here make for a rather jarring contrast vs. the OW norm (which may be why you are getting such a negative reaction), but would fit in better in the more snark and spoof infested waters over at John's blog.

I can't promise that you won't be roundly abused over there, but if you want to play a more sharp-elbows sort of game then that comes with the territory after all, doesn't it?

You seem to enjoy poking people and then getting a reaction, but I think you might get more entertainment value for your effort somewhere other than OW. There is something to be said for matching the tone with the venue, especially when such a wide variety are available.

LeftTurn- I'd just as soon she hangs in there until the eve of the convention. If she has a great concession speach so much the better

Finaly Hillary has never said any of that stuff.

Hillary has never said Obama was unfit to be commander in chief? Perhaps in the way Cheney has never said Saddam Hussein was connected with 9/11.

I'm willing to buy the idea that it can be a good thing in some ways that the Clintons are selflessly sacrificing their reputations to provide Obama with training to withstand Republican smears for the general, but it's absolutely more damaging for Obama to be fighting a two-front war, with Clinton acting as a McCain surrogate within his own party, than to be fighting one-on-one against McCain with the entire Democratic Party getting his back.

KCinDC- Well we are certainly going to be able to compare the two. I suspect its only going to get rougher for Obama. Do you think he's encountered a lot of crap? Cuz I think John Kerry got a lot of bad press including from Democrats all the way up to election day.

Heck I'm watching Boondocks right now and I remember the creator on Real Time talking about what a big girl Kerry was.

The kid has his uses. Mention upstream of the disparity Obama v. McCain/Clinton v. McCain lit a light bulb for me.
Of the twenty-eight percent who voted for Clinton who would vote for McCain, I’m led to wonder how many of them are The Children of Limbaugh TLT brought up? (Raised ’em all by hisself, he did.) If there are as many as seems likely that would change the calculation, perhaps considerably. A known unknown.
In any event the voters who will vote opposite their party affiliation sound like not-very reliable party members.

John Cole will probably want to slap me upside the head for saying this...

John Cole slaps everyone upside the head. It's his version of a love tap :)

Let's not drive Jay out, we need the loyal opposition.

As long as he is reasonably civil, anyway.

I think Obama will appeal a LOT more to the working-class once the general election starts. The press will cover the parts of his speeches that show how he (i.e. any Democrat) is different from McCain, instead of just the parts that show how he is different from Clinton. Also, local Democratic leaders in swing states will fall in line and stump for him. So I'm not worried about that 28%.

go ahead vote for McCain you big fucking babies. Loved the references to Ralph Nader and Tanya Harding.

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